Senate Confirms Lucy Koh To Ninth Circuit

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 13, 2021 – This evening the Senate confirmed Judge Lucy Haeran Koh to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. With her confirmation, Judge Koh becomes:

  • The first Korean-American woman to ever serve as a federal appellate judge;
  • The third AAPI woman to serve on any U.S. Circuit Court; and
  • The tenth of President Biden’s appeals court nominees to be confirmed.

This was Judge Koh’s second nomination to the Ninth Circuit. President Obama had previously nominated her in 2016, but the Republican-controlled Senate never considered her nomination. As such, she has now served as a U.S. District Court judge for over ten years, issuing approximately 3,250 opinions on a wide range of issues.

Informed by her work in Northern California as both a judge and an attorney, Judge Koh is widely respected for her subject matter expertise in the realms of privacy, technology, and intellectual property. She has also demonstrated a tremendous commitment to equal justice for all. For example, she ruled on several key cases that assured a fair and accurate census, such as issuing a preliminary injunction to ensure the Trump administration did not try to cut the census short when the COVID pandemic had extended the process. She also ruled in favor of tech workers who sued companies like Apple and Google for conspiring to keep their wages low. Prior to her time on the court, Judge Koh spent several years at the Department of Justice, including as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, before going into private practice, where she worked on intellectual property issues for two of Northern California’s leading law firms.

Alliance for Justice President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement:

“The confirmation of Judge Koh to the Ninth Circuit is an historic achievement that is emblematic of President Biden’s bold vision for rebalancing the federal judiciary for the 21st century. Not only has Judge Koh brilliantly served in the judiciary for over a decade, she has also made history as the first Korean-American women to hold such a powerful Circuit seat. Not only does Judge Koh bring expertise on issues related to privacy and technology, but she also has an exciting progressive record of advancing civil rights, ruling in favor of democracy, and promoting justice for all.

“Each of President Biden’s judicial confirmations deserves to be recognized for the historic milestones they represent, and in the aggregate, we can see how this president and Senate Democrats are vigorously prioritizing our courts. Our justice system is stronger and more reliable when we can see ourselves represented within it, and Judge Koh’s service on the Ninth Circuit will surely benefit the cause of equal justice.”